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Business Administration grads named 2021 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal recipients

June 18, 2021

Every year, Red River College awards up to four Lieutenant Governor’s Medal awards to graduating students who excel in academic and technical achievement, involvement in College and/or community activities, and good character.

This year, Red River College is proud to award two winners who embodied every aspect of the award:

RRC grad Laura Dyer with certificateLAURA DYER: Business Administration – Marketing

The COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to online learning was a challenge for many students — Laura Dyer included. Throughout the last 15 months, Dyer remained committed to her studies – completing her final exams with a cumulative GPA of 4.23, and to her community throughout her academic journey.

Community involvement has always been important to Dyer. She has been a volunteer with Motion Ball for Special Olympics and Larche Winnipeg, organizations supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities, for three years. She describes these volunteer experiences as life-changing because of the selfless and kind people she has had the honour to develop relationships with.

She is also an active member of the RRC community, participating on both the women’s soccer and futsal teams.

Recognizing the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic was having on people’s mental and physical health, she volunteered her time as an online fitness instructor five days a week to provide home workout videos to individuals in the community.

Dyer is described by her nominators as an ambitious, motivated, enthusiastic leader, and an “outstanding performer with a shining personality.”

RRC grad Sadie Tait with certificateSADIE TAIT: Business Administration – Accounting

After a successful career working as an insurance broker, Sadie Tait was ready for the next challenge and enrolled in the program at RRC’s Portage la Prairie Campus.

In her first year in the program, Tait excelled — achieving perfect scores on several exams and tutoring her peers. When the College transitioned to online learning as a result of the pandemic, Sadie maintained her high grades and transferred to the Steinbach Campus for her final year to pursue an accounting major.

The summer before her final year, she learned she was pregnant with her first son. She maintained her grades and worked hard to complete her program online, and she and her husband welcomed him into the world two weeks before she completed her final exams in April 2021.

While completing her studies, Tait served as an elected councillor for the Municipality of North Norfolk, worked part-time, and volunteered for several organizations in her community, including the MacGregor and District Kinette Club, the MacGregor-Austin Senior Support Program, the MacGregor Curling Club, and the MacGregor Chamber of Commerce.

She received five glowing letters of recommendation in support of her nomination, describing her as a leader, professional, hard-working and an essential asset to her community.

Canadian Animal Blood Bank celebrates 25 years; partnership with RRC thrives

May 25, 2021

From skilled trades to health sciences, Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus (NDC) is home to a wide variety of growing talents. What many might not know is that, in a quiet corner of the campus’s mall level, dogs have been giving blood and saving lives for a quarter century.

The Campus is home to the Canadian Animal Blood Bank (CABB), an organization launched in Winnipeg that’s become the national leader in collecting and distributing life-saving canine blood donations to veterinary clinics across the country. This year, CABB celebrates its 25th anniversary.

“We have a really swanky lab here, considering we basically started in a closet,” says Beth Knight, CABB laboratory director and RRC grad, with a laugh.

“It was a storage space and its phenomenal how weve grown. For that, Canadian Animal Blood Bank can never thank Red River College enough for what theyve done for us, because they give us a roof over our head, a phone, computers, a parking lot, access to a space — the gift they’ve given can never be totally appreciated.”

CABB was started in 1996 as the brainchild of Dr. Ken Mould, a Winnipeg-based veterinarian who saw the need in Canada for canine blood banking, instead of requiring vets to travel to the U.S. border for dated, substandard product. Since the organization’s beginning, when they worked with just a few local veterinary clinics in Manitoba, they’ve expanded into several provinces.

“We’ve grown from one or two clinics to where we are now, with multiple sites across Canada that collect. We have Alberta, Ontario, Montreal — and we’ve recently started looking at expanding into the Atlantic provinces,” says Isabel Bright, current CABB board member and Dean of RRC’s School of Indigenous Education.

As the former Chair of Life Sciences (2011-2021), Bright has seen first-hand how the relationship between RRC and CABB has helped foster that growth, and goes a lot deeper than just brick and mortar. The clinic at NDC is a pragmatic learning opportunity for those in the College’s Veterinary Technician program.

“Students have an opportunity to volunteer and to learn about transfusion medicine from the experts at the blood bank,” says Bright. “There are also some conferences that we’ve shared together so students have an opportunity to learn and hear from experts in different parts of the country for the latest in blood banking and transfusion medicine.”

Read More →

New Healthy Minds Healthy College Strategy released; learn more at online forum on April 9

March 31, 2021

Red River College is pleased to share that its new Healthy Minds Healthy (HMHC) College Strategy: A Roadmap for Action 2021-2025 has been approved and endorsed by Senior Leadership and the HMHC Steering Committee — who serve as a catalyst for moving this important work forward — and will carry the College forward for the next five years.

Many staff and students across the College have had opportunities to participate in wellness events and initiatives organized by HMHC — from therapy dogs to paint nights to presentations by guest speakers such as Jordin Tootoo (shown above). If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that supporting healthy minds and creating a healthy College community is so much more than the fun and visible events we enjoy on campus.

“The goal of Healthy Minds Healthy College is to promote an environment of support that provides a sense of well-being, belonging, connectedness and positive mental health for all students, faculty and staff,” says RRC President Fred Meier.

“We know that personal well-being supports academic and career success, and our personal well-being is often affected by the conditions in which we learn and work. Our HMHC Strategy: Roadmap for Action recognizes the strengths that are currently in place at RRC, while providing a path forward to guide the work that remains.”

While this work was underway prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, recent events have created new and different stressors, bringing mental health to the forefront of many people’s minds. Further, there is a risk of an “echo pandemic” of poor mental health, caused by widespread social and economic disruption.

The HMHC Strategy acknowledges the need to take a community-wide, systemic approach to promoting well-being. We have built in strategies to promote mental health and well-being amongst all community members, identified additional strategies to support those with concerns about coping, and outlined priorities to support individuals experiencing mental illness or crisis.

“Our HMHC Strategy focuses not only on building individual coping skills and encouraging help-seeking behaviour, but takes a systemic approach, aiming to create interpersonal and organizational conditions that foster positive mental health,” says Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator at RRC.

“The current strengths and future priorities highlighted in the Roadmap for Action do not belong to one College department or division, as we recognize that becoming a health-promoting institution requires organization-wide collaboration. Students, staff and faculty members all contributed to the creation of this Roadmap, including the selection of priorities.”

To learn more about the HMHC Strategy: Roadmap for Action and RRC’s immediate priorities, please join Sawatzky for: State of Mind: A Community Exchange on Friday, April 9, from 1–2 p.m. This interactive forum will include a short presentation highlighting key aspects of the strategy, followed by discussion.

College honours Manitoba icon and celebrated community hero: Gabriel Langlois to receive honorary diploma

February 19, 2021

For the last 35 years, Gabriel Langlois has undeniably been one of the most well-known and beloved Manitobans at any sporting or special event across our province.

And while it’s often his presence and enthusiasm for Winnipeg that captures attention, it’s his integrity, devotion to volunteering, community spirit and uplifting positive attitude that captures hearts. These qualities have moved Red River College to award Langlois the Honorary Diploma in Community Development at this year’s 2021 Virtual Winter Convocation ceremony.

“Red River College awards an Honorary Diploma to an individual who demonstrates high standards of excellence in their personal and professional achievements, and whose involvement in the community is widely recognized,” says RRC President Fred Meier.

“Gabriel Langlois has made significant contributions to our community and is celebrated by many for his tireless engagement efforts and friendly demeanour. When Red River College received his nomination, it included letters of support from leaders across Manitoba, which reinforced his devotion to volunteerism and the positive impact that he continues to have on our communities. While ‘Dancing Gabe’ may be Manitoba’s number one fan, there is certainly an entire community of us who are fans of the contributions he makes to our province every day.”

The list of Langlois’ awards, accolades and achievements is long, and includes the Premier’s Volunteer Award, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the City of Winnipeg Community Service Award.

This past September, his volunteer accomplishments culminated in his being awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, which recognizes the remarkable achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields. He has also demonstrated his integrity and trustworthiness over the past 35 years as a volunteer and part-time employee of the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg.

“Gabriel Langlois is a Manitoba icon, devoted volunteer and inspiring community hero. He reflects the very best of our community — and the best of Red River College, with our commitment to learning, respect, inclusiveness, integrity and community values,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-President, Academic. Read More →

More than 100 Bachelor of Nursing grads join Manitoba’s front lines

December 17, 2020

Bachelor of Nursing pinToday, 109 graduates from Red River College’s Bachelor of Nursing program will receive their nursing pins at a special Virtual Pinning Ceremony, marking the completion of their degrees and the beginning of their careers as they join Manitoba’s front lines.

“Red River College is proud to train and prepare our health-care professionals with the skills and expertise they need to successfully enter the workforce, and provide the critical health human resources that our province needs now more than ever,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-President Academic.

“The Bachelor of Nursing students receiving their pins today have risen to every challenge this pandemic has thrown their way. They have demonstrated they are ready to put their training into action, to help those who need them most, and to make a real difference. We are thrilled to celebrate their hard work and dedication with this special virtual celebration.”

The pinning ceremony is an important ceremonial milestone for new nurses that dates back to the 12th century. It is often associated with Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, who presented medals of excellence to the nursing graduates of her London school. The presentation of the nursing pin to graduates celebrates their success as students and the promise of their future in the profession.

This year has proven to be especially challenging for Nursing grads, many of whom have had to complete their senior practicums while working on the front lines in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve always known that I wanted to be a nurse. Helping others and caring for patients is something that I care deeply about, so I knew this would never be just a job for me — it would be something I would commit my life to,” says Lauren Lacroix, RRC Bachelor of Nursing graduate, class of 2020.

“Completing nursing school isn’t easy — you have to learn to adapt, to prioritize and work under pressure — and this has been especially true this year while working to complete our practicums in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Receiving our pins today symbolizes the fact that we did it, and on those really hard days it serves as an important reminder of everything we have overcome to get here, and of our commitment to make a difference in the lives of the patients we care for.” Read More →

Robots, rapid prototyping and R&D: College’s applied research enterprise ranks among Canada’s best

December 15, 2020

Red River College is one of Canada’s top five research institutions, as announced today by Re$earch Infosource in their annual ranking of the country’s top 50 research colleges.

The list saw RRC, Manitoba’s only polytechnic, jump nine spots from its placement at 14th last year. This is the highest the College has placed since coming in second in 2011.

“Red River College is a world-class institution that makes significant impacts to applied research every day, thanks to industry-driven partnerships and projects,” says RRC President Fred Meier. “Our research enterprise has been making a difference for more than 15 years, and this recognition is a testament to the contributions of our hard-working staff, students and faculty.”

Today’s announcement recognizes RRC’s work during the 2018/19 fiscal year, during which the College completed 105 research projects and employed 37 students for work that falls within the College’s four main research areas: advanced design and manufacturing, clean technology, digital technologies, and health, nutrition and social sciences.

Key projects include an ongoing partnership with Prairie Fava, a start-up business based out of Glenboro, Manitoba that promotes fava flour as a protein-rich gluten alternative; supporting Manitoba’s aerospace and manufacturing sector with an expanding fleet of “cobots” or collaborative robots; and helping to launch the “Genome 360” project with Genome Canada and a network of partners, with the goal of building a hub for genomics and phenomics capabilities in Manitoba.

The news comes on the heels of RRC’s recent silver win at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) Awards of Excellence, held in a virtual ceremony on Nov. 29.

“Our work in applied research has an immediate impact and is needed now more than ever,” says Meier. “Being recognized on a national and international level not only reinforces our continued success, but recognizes the immense talent and expertise that we have at the College. Our ongoing collaboration with business and industry means that we’re solving problems and creating new and innovative solutions every day, and I invite industry to come work with us to experience first-hand what we have to offer. Read More →

Elder Mae Louise Campbell awarded honorary diploma for lifetime of advocacy

November 18, 2020

Elder Mae Louise CampbellElder Mae Louise Campbell is a healer, teacher, grandmother and advocate who has made it her life’s work to support and strengthen Indigenous women — both individually and collectively.

Today, Red River College is proud to recognize her contributions to the community by awarding her an Honorary Diploma in Indigenous Social Enterprise, with a focus on Community Development and Social Innovation.

“In an organization as large as Red River College, it’s special to find someone who is known, respected and beloved by an entire community, and Elder Mae Louise is all of those things,” said RRC President Fred Meier.

“During her 14 years with the College, she was invited by all 110 academic program areas to conduct and lead countless workshops, ceremonies and teachings. She is known and celebrated for her stories that underscore the importance of harmony, respect and resilience.

“Elder Mae Louise’s leadership has left an indelible mark on the College and the province of Manitoba, and we are pleased to award her this honorary diploma and recognize her important contributions.”

Cambpell’s knowledge and experience have been embraced by many. Her life lessons and unique ability to educate and share knowledge around Indigenous worldviews — creating dialogue outside of textbooks — has been imperative to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the community.

She has been an instrumental figure supporting many initiatives and committees, both nationally and across Manitoba, including: Grandmother Moon Lodge, Clan Mothers Healing Village and Knowledge Centre, the Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, the Grandmothers Council of Manitoba (as a Wisdom Keeper), and the First Nations Advisory Committee to Canada’s Prenatal Nutritional Program. She served as an Elder and advisor for the Canadian Women’s Foundation on matters concerning the sexual exploitation and human trafficking of women and girls, and was the recipient of the 2016 Indspire Award in the category of Culture, Heritage and Spirituality.

The College announced and presented Campbell’s Honorary Diploma yesterday at the first ever Virtual Fall Convocation ceremony, during which more than 900 graduates from every RRC campus celebrated the milestone achievement. Read More →

Safety top priority as College prepares for students, staff to return to campuses

August 5, 2020

With the Fall 2020 academic term just around the corner, Red River College offered an on-campus preview today of what students can expect when they return to school next month.

Attended by the Hon. Ralph Eichler, Minister of Economic Development and Training, today’s media tour showcased a number of applied learning activities currently taking place on the Notre Dame Campus, and highlighted new measures the College is taking to protect the safety of an increasing number of students and staff coming back to school.

RRC President Fred Meier says the College’s response to COVID-19 — and the quick pivot to online and blended learning this past spring — has positioned RRC to continue to meet industry needs and help drive Manitoba’s economic recovery.

“COVID-19 has handed our province an unprecedented set of challenges to overcome. I continue to be impressed by how organizations across all sectors have found innovative ways to meet those challenges head-on,” says Eichler (shown above, at left). “Red River College adapted quickly to support its students, made valuable contributions to our community efforts against COVID-19, and — thanks to hard work — prepared itself to play a vital role in Manitoba’s economic recovery.”

The tour provided a look at the catch-up, hands-on training currently underway at RRC’s Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, along with its Indigenous Culinary Skills, Dentistry and level four Carpentry programs, and a tour and demonstration by students in the new Medical Radiologic Technology lab.

While the majority of catch-up training is happening at the Notre Dame Campus, Culinary Arts students are equally busy at the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. Earlier this summer, a number of the College’s regional campuses welcomed students back to complete hands-on learning to wrap up their studies, as well.

“Although we’ve been working incredibly hard since March to deliver our programs online, we’re very excited to have people moving through our halls, our labs, our offices and classrooms again,” says Meier (shown above, at right). “As Manitobans, we have managed the impacts of COVID-19 better than many other regions, and that — along with the tremendous leadership and hard work of our employees — has made it possible for us to continue preparing students for careers in industries that will need their knowledge and skills more than ever.” Read More →

College to celebrate graduates with virtual convocation

June 11, 2020

Red River College will celebrate its 2020 graduates by hosting a virtual convocation. Graduates, along with their friends and families, can watch this special event on Tuesday, June 30 at 1 p.m., by visiting rrc.ca/convocation.

“Convocation is an important milestone for our students and the College community as a whole. The time and energy invested in acquiring a credential is worth celebrating,” says RRC’s interim President, Dr. Christine Watson. “We want to honour and acknowledge the accomplishments of our students and the support of their network. Even though it is not possible to cross the stage as we typically do, we’re excited about exploring a new way to recognize the hard work of our graduates.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College made the difficult decision to postpone convocation ceremonies that were originally planned to occur in June. Even though official ceremonies have been postponed, eligible students will still graduate with a Red River College degree, diploma or certificate.

“Our graduates are going to achieve great things. While this celebration will look a little different than our usual ones, it was important to find a way to honour and celebrate our students,” says Anna Hughes, Director, Enrolment Services and Registrar.

The virtual celebration will feature messages from community leaders, dignitaries, alumni and senior leadership, and will honour outstanding achievements and special award recipients. It does not replace in-person convocation ceremonies, which will be rescheduled for a later time.

A convocation package including students’ parchments and other important pieces of information will be mailed to their home addresses in advance of the ceremony. Graduates are encouraged to watch the virtual celebration, wear their new RRC alumni pin, and share photos of their individual celebration by tagging @redrivercollege and #rrcalumni on social media. Read More →

Red River College to host Virtual Indigenous Celebration

June 5, 2020

Today at noon, Red River College will host a Virtual Indigenous Celebration on Facebook Live to recognize Indigenous students and their accomplishments. The event will be held in lieu of the annual Pow Wow to ensure staff and students maintain social distancing and safety during COVID-19 restrictions.

“RRC’s annual Pow Wow has been a point of pride for the College for nearly 20 years and has been a tremendous way to honour, celebrate and make Indigenous culture more accessible for the College community. Although we are not yet able to be together physically, we still are, and will always be, dedicated to advancing Indigenous achievement and embedding Indigenous ways of knowing and being,” says Isabel Bright, Acting Dean, School of Indigenous Education.

“We are excited to create a place online that makes our students feel special, acknowledges their achievements, and holds space for Indigenous culture and teachings.”

The virtual event will feature messages from community leaders and dignitaries, senior leadership, instructors from the School of Indigenous Education, Indigenous Support Staff, and even some special performances that highlight the diversity of Indigenous cultures.

Students of First Nation, Métis and Inuit ancestry were invited to register to be recognized in the Celebration and receive a mailed gift, which includes the Indigenous stole they would have received at Pow Wow.

“It’s really important that we do what we can to help students mark this important moment in their lives,” says Bright. “The RRC Pow Wow is a powerful experience for those of us who work in Indigenous Education because it’s a space where Indigenous culture, knowledge, ceremony and protocol lead.”

“It’s important to show our students that these things hold a high value, and in turn celebrate those values within themselves. It says your achievements matter, and who you are matters. We want to ensure we are doing what we can to help students celebrate important milestones and remind them that they are part of a community.” Read More →